Stress, Management Control, and the Role of Alienation
This chapter examines research that is based on Harry Braverman's labor process analysis. It considers management control in relation to technological change and in relation to more recent theories on management's role in strategic planning. There are certain deficiencies with Braverman's approach. Later writers on the labor process have refined the concept and the utility of its operation quite a way beyond Braverman. The chapter looks at the role of the concept of alienation in examining occupational stress and ill-health. Alienation is a concept that can better explain the effects of being unable to fulfill important needs at work. It can link the effects of management control of the labor process to individual experience. The chapter reviews the literature on the sociopsychological concepts of low self-esteem and low sense of mastery. These states are outcomes of management's control over the labor process and add to our body of knowledge on the occurrence of stress at work.